worth the read // vol. 3

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If you haven’t had a chance to check it out already, in the latest post in the From Comparison to Contentment series I shared my own personal struggle with insecurity and spoke on how one of the most natural things for us to compare to others is our appearance. To tag along with that, I have a round up of other blog posts, articles, and movements that are speaking up about the same thing. Each & every one of these, I believe, is worth the read.

This series is one that hits all the points, but this post in particular struck my heart the most.

This movement is sweeping the world. It started a few months after I had already started my own “no make up month” and it directly fell in line with the heart of the matter.

Because skinny people have insecurities too.

“…my perception of personal beauty and worth is about who Jesus is. Because let’s face it, I will always find another woman with better hair, whiter teeth, and smoother skin than me. If I only measure my beauty by the person standing across from me, I will always lose. It’s only when I choose to believe the truth of the Gospel that I can let go of comparison and grasp the value that was bought for me by Jesus on the cross. I am loved and accepted and celebrated beyond my wildest imagination. I will always measure up. I will always be precious – to God the Father, through Christ.”

“There will always be someone more fit, more toned, more tan, or more athletic. There will always be someone cuter or prettier, and there will always be someone with a nicer house/more interesting life/better job. And even when we meet that next goal, lose those last five pounds, or climb one more rung of the ladder…there will always be a bigger house, five more pounds, or another rung. We are meant to be content and find joy, but we so quickly start looking for this in an endless chase after life goals that are impossible to conquer.”

This letter to a daughter says so much that relates to every woman too.

the war on insecurity

An installment in the series From Comparison to Contentment focusing on appearance.If I asked you “what in your life do you compare the most to others,” what would you say? As much as I don’t want to admit it, one of the first things that comes to my mind is my appearance. And I might be so bold to say that our appearance is one of the most dangerous things for us to compare, because it can affect us so deeply. It can be an intimate part of who we are, so when we mess with our ideas of it, we can cut ourselves to the core. That’s what happened to me.

About a year and a half ago I found myself in a downward spiral of insecurity and self doubt based on my disappointment in the details of how I looked. It came upon me like a quiet fox, sly and sneaky. So much so that I’m not even sure how I reached the point that I did. Many days I found myself looking in the mirror disappointed with the imperfections that nobody pointed out but me: The dark circles under my eyes; the unpredictable red spots in the undertones of my skin; the make up that not only didn’t cover up the problems I saw, but also seemed to make matters messier; the hair that laid flat and never did anything that I planned for it to do; the hair that also never grew as quickly as I wanted it to; the weight that I had gained and the clothes that didn’t fit the same because of it; the outfit that I settled on because I already tried 5 other options and I was running late, leaving me flustered as I had to rush out the door. All this disappointment in how I looked led to disappointment in who I was, and teary eyes more days than I’d like to admit.

Mornings like these felt like they ruined me. I’d feel defeated. I’d angrily throw another top onto the pile of already rejected outfit choices. I’d irritably rub my eye make up off after messing it up for the second time. I’d become short with my husband because he was the only “reasonable” thing I could lash out my frustration on. Poor Adam. He witnessed many meltdowns that I couldn’t explain, and therefore he couldn’t understand. He did his best to reassure me that I’m beautiful, but I just failed to fully believe it. He hugged me and held me as hot tears rolled down my face, with me sputtering about how I was just having a bad day, because crying over what outfit I couldn’t decide on felt unreasonably childish and dramatic. When really on the inside I was thinking, Why can’t I just be prettier?

Sadly, I think that thought runs across every girl’s mind at some point or another. Women young and women old; we’re trained to measure ourselves in comparison to others. And when we feel like we’re not stacking up with the rest, we settle on the lie that we’re not pretty enough. Here I was at 22 struggling with insecurity more deeply than I ever had in my life. Aren’t these the kinds of things that teenagers deal with? And so I felt like my struggles were amateur. That I should be more than capable of handling them. That I shouldn’t need to reach out to someone else and let them know how I was hurting.

But the isolation of my feelings left me feeling weak. I pushed on and did what I could to combat it all. And some days I’d do just fine. Some days I’d do great. But some days I’d be hanging on by a thread. You see, when we turn inward and rely on ourselves to solve our problems, sometimes we might have victories. Sometimes our battles are just the right size for us to handle. But other times, many times, they require a much stronger army. We’re in need of the support of others that can come alongside us, support us, cheer for us, pray for us, fight with us. It wasn’t until I remembered that truth that I started to see some light.

Even more than that, though, in our battles we need a victor. One that knows our hearts and knows our struggles and loves us the same. One that loves us deeply, passionately, and desperately no matter where we are – in the mess or in the clear. One that sees our hurts, and our mistakes, and our shame, and our sins, and still willingly lays His life down for us so that we might be set free. And so it was Jesus that ultimately pulled me out of my pit. He was right there all along, offering me a hand. It just took me awhile to finally grab hold of it. But as I did, He held onto me. He’s been holding onto me. He’s been stealing my attention away from my appearance and fixing my eyes on who He is. And as He’s been doing so, I’ve been fighting back.

For too long I hoped that make up would help rid me of the imperfections I see in my face, but my inabilities and lacking knowledge led to more frustration and disappointment. So I packed it all away for a month, which turned into two months, which turned into most days, unless I choose to use it because I want to, not because I feel like I need to.

Instead of staring at the parts of my body that were holding more weight than they ever had before, I started to do something about it. I slowly, but surely, started making a habit of working out, and I started making small improvements in my diet. And I’ve worked to stick to it. It’s been a process, but I’ve been rejoicing in the progress.

My clothes were too often making me unhappy and frustrated, so I overhauled my closet and got rid of the things that I didn’t love. And I’ve changed my outlook on what is necessary to have hanging on the rack.

I’ve learned/I’m learning to take care of my body in the best ways I can because this is the home that God gave me on this earth. He knitted me together in my mother’s womb and He looked at me and saw that I was good. I am – you are – a product of God’s handiwork. There is no flaw in that. He only desires that we see that too and allow Him to use us as a vessel for His spirit in this world.

So for the past year or so, I’ve been handing over my insecurities. I’ve tried to focus my heart more on what God has planned for me in this life, and that in turn has left me distracted from wallowing in self pity. Are there days that I look back? Oh yes. It’s a process. But again, I rejoice in the progress. Because Jesus didn’t give up His life for me so that I could sit around in a jail cell that is locked from the inside. He gave up His life and as a result set me free. Free from the chains I put on myself. It’s an ongoing, everyday decision to embrace who I am, as I am, and stop wishing I was this or that. I try to do things to better myself and take care of myself, but more than that I make my overall aim to be Jesus. So that I may be defined completely by who He is, what He’s done, & is doing, in my life, and how I can honor Him. And that, to me, sounds a lot more like contentment.


This post is a part of the ongoing Pruim Life series, From Comparison to Contentment. You can check out other posts in this series here.

a picture is worth a thousand words

I think it’s true. There are so many things that can be said about a picture. Pictures have memories, and stories, and emotions attached to them. They can stir up something in us. At least I know that’s the case for me. In high school, and through a lot of college, more often than not I could be found with my camera at hand. Nothing fancy – just a point and shoot. But I always had it. I kept it around to capture the memories so that one day I could look back and remember as much as possible about my life. & then share those memories with others. That is the inspiration for this new series. I want to take hold of the opportunity to share memories, and stories, and emotions with you. Because it all makes up my story. It all makes up who I am today. The truth is, this series could go on forever. I have a whole lot of pictures. So I’m planning on this being an ongoing occurrence here at The Pruim Life. I look forward to digging through some oldies, but oh so goodies to give you a greater glimpse into my life. So here’s the first installment.

the pumpkin olympicsThe Pumpkin Olympics

This picture is one for the history books in my life for more reasons than I ever could have dreamed of on the night that it was taken. Let me tell you why…

This was a Wednesday night in the fall of what I think was 2004. It was the first and only time that I ever attended the junior high youth group as a student at my would-be church. You see, in my junior high years, my parents were getting my brother and me plugged back into the Lutheran church that they had attended once upon a time, so I spent most of my Wednesday nights at confirmation classes. But this one random Wednesday night that was probably in my eighth grade year, I didn’t have confirmation class; and for some reason I didn’t have school the next day either. As a result, I made plans to sleepover at my cousins’ house. Before I went to their house for the night though, we went to their church (which I had already visited on occasion for the Sunday services) for some of the student ministries. Jordi was helping out at the children’s ministry and Matt was going to the junior high youth group, so I had the choice to either help out with Jordi, or tag along with Matt for the event of the night: the Pumpkin Olympics. The picture shows the choice I made. Since I didn’t know anyone, I stuck to Matt (the brunette boy next to me in the photo) like glue as the night went by, which meant I was on an olympic team with all boys. That didn’t bother me. In fact, I remember secretly thinking to myself that I felt super cool for being the only girl with all the boys. I also remember during one of the events saying that I wanted to be the representative of the team to shot put a pumpkin because “girls are strong too”. They were troopers and let me do my thing, but I can humbly admit now that I was not, in fact, as strong as the boys and did not throw the pumpkin very far. I remember the youth pastor, Jason, drop kicking a pumpkin for the “opening ceremony” while wearing shorts & knee high socks. I remember having to roll a pumpkin across a field with my head – ya know, the kind of thing that only junior highers do. Otherwise, the rest of the details of this night are a bit of a blur.

But despite the haziness, this night was still monumental. Because God had so much in store for me as a result of it that I was completely unaware of at the time. Let me just point out how:

I didn’t know that within the two years following these pumpkin olympics, this non denominational church would become my home church. I didn’t know that my life would drastically change as a result of attending and getting plugged into this church in high school. I didn’t know that this night would be a wide open door in my path to meeting Jesus for real.

I didn’t know that years after this picture was taken I would be a leader in the same ministry that I was attending as a student that night. I didn’t know that I would serve under the leadership of the same youth pastor that wore shorts and knee high socks & drop kicked a pumpkin. And I didn’t know that he would not only become my own youth pastor my senior year of high school, but that he, and his wife, would also become mentors and dear friends.

I didn’t know that down the road I would regularly see most of these boys every Sunday at the high school youth group, instead of this junior high one. I didn’t know that literally half of these boys would become such good friends that they are still a part of my life to this day. In fact, I didn’t know that two of the boys in this picture would stand in my wedding – one of them being the best man.

Because my favorite part of this story is that I didn’t know that I met my husband on this night. Yep, that adorable blondie in the orange sweater is my now hubby. I didn’t know that neither he nor I would remember that we met before we thought we met. Because our first real memories of meeting each other happened later on within the next year of this picture being taken. In fact, no one believed me (minus my cousin) that I even existed on this night until Jason found this picture in his archives years later and I could prove every doubter wrong.

You see, this picture is incredibly sweet to me because it is the perfect representation of Christ’s provision in my life – in all of our lives. At a mere 13(ish) years old, I had no clue that this picture, this night, would represent so many giant factors of my life as an adult. Every time I look at this, I can’t help but smile at the ways that God has worked things out (after I laugh to myself at how ridiculous I, my husband, and our friends all look in all of our awkward junior high glory).

This picture is full of memories. It’s full of then-future, now-present meaningful relationships. To prove it to you, here’s a shot from our best man’s wedding this past October. The junior high version of the three on the left can be found above.

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& here’s one of me and present day Matt

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Sometimes God is at work in our lives in ways that we don’t realize until we look back after time has passed and we see his hand prints all over them. The picture from the pumpkin olympics is full of God’s invisible hand already at work in all of our lives. & boy am I glad to have this keepsake to always remember it by.

may goals

GOALS (2)

My oh my, where did April go? Honestly, where has the first third of 2015 gone? I almost can’t handle how quickly time is passing. We’ve officially been in Minot for 6 months, meaning we’ve already been here longer than we were in California. It’s all sorts of weird, but still all sorts of good. April was a fast month, but one filled with some goodies too. You can get caught up to speed on our life in my latest catching up post. With the freshness of spring upon us, I figured it was time to freshen up this space too, so I hope you enjoy the new look.

As I put together this post for the month, I felt like it would be worth explaining to you all that I understand that reading about what I aim to do each month probably isn’t the most enlightening of topics. These monthly goal posts are partially a way for me to hold myself accountable to accomplishing more in my day to day, but mostly they are a way for me to express that whether or not I meet my goals, there is grace. It’s not about perfection and doing “all the things,” but that it’s about celebrating when I achieve, still pushing myself along when I don’t, and still trying regardless of the outcome. And to me, that’s a message worth sharing. Because we could all give ourselves a little more grace. So without further ado, here’s what I tried to do in April, and what I’m hoping to do in May:

APRIL REVIEW

  1. Read More (beyond Systematic Theology).  I made it a point to read more this month instead of indulge my love for One Tree Hill on Netflix. I started and finished 7 by Jen Hatmaker and it certainly rocked my world. I’m still processing all of the truth that my heart was hit with. I hope to keep up this habit and start reading more of my shelves.
  2. Continue working out multiple times a week.  This was accomplished for the most part. While I haven’t been as consistent as I have been in the past couple months, I’ve been staying active and getting to the gym at least three times a week. Being sick last week didn’t help, but the nicer weather has helped in encouraging me to run outside more. The biggest news though: over the past few months I’ve been able to shave off 10 pounds and get so significantly close to my goal weight! I have loved seeing the progress in my body get more toned and healthy and I want to keep at it. I have been given this body and I want to take care of it and love every inch of it.
  3. Spend the nice days outside.  I’ve done my best to get out and enjoy the weather. I’d like to get out a little bit more than I have and get some color on my skin, but it’s a start.

[Also, this wasn’t on my set of goals this month, but in months past I had been hoping to finish the gallery wall for our living room. This past weekend I finally did that, and I simply love it. I’m hoping to share some of the details about it with you on here soon!]

MAY GOALS

  1. Actually start posting the things I’ve been thinking of.  While my presence on The Pruim Life has been more minimal lately, my mind is still actively thinking of ideas of things to share with you all. My “works in progress” tab on OneNote (which I utilize to help organize everything I do for this space) is getting more and more full, yet I remain quiet on here. I have this space for a reason, and I want to use it more as I intended.
  2. Start a Bible Study.  In the midst of our search for a church in this area, my heart has also been turned significantly towards the ways that we can be the church in our daily lives and with our everyday community. Months ago I felt the push to start a bible study/small group in order to live more life alongside others, and to dig more into the Word to let it lead our lives. It’s time I actually follow through with that push.
  3. Celebrate our anniversary well.  We haven’t made plans yet for how we want to commemorate the two years we’ve been married, but I want to do something special. We’ll see what we come up with.
  4. Continue working out multiple times a week.  Like I said, my progress has been it’s own inspiration for me and I want to keep working towards being as healthy as I can be.
  5. Keep reading.
  6. Spend the nice days outside.  Because the weather keeps getting nicer and I want to enjoy all of it.

Thanks for being willing to check in on how I’m doing. I’d love to hear what goals you might have for yourself this month, as well as all the ways that you’re giving yourself grace.

catching up // vol. 5

I’ve been distant these past weeks as I’ve been letting life happen, so I figured it was time I give all you friends and family an update of what’s going on in the real life Pruim life. Here’s just a glimpse of what we’ve been up to:

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As I’ve already alluded to on here, at the end of March we visited Cozumel, Mexico with the entire Pruim family. All 12 of us traveled together for a week of relaxation and quality family time. Despite some travel sickness and stomach bugs that affected half of the family, and some days of rain and clouds, we still enjoyed perfect temps, poolside days, and an overabundance of quesadillas for the nephews.

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Some highlights for everyone included snorkeling, exploring at the beach (per our littlest nephew’s daily requests), massages, seeing (a much plumper version of) Elvis, zip lining, trampolines, and a giant poolside foam party that lasted an entire hour.

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The biggest highlight of the trip for me though: My number one bucket list dream finally came true when Adam and I had the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Not only that, but we got to pet, hold, kiss, shake fins with, and be pushed by them too. Guys, I felt like a little kid in a candy store times a million, as can be evidenced by how much I’m cheesin’ in half of our pictures.

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Overall, it was such a blessing to be able to escape some cold weather and spend time with family that we don’t get to see as often anymore. It makes me incredibly thankful for the family I’ve gained through my marriage. This trip was also an opportunity to squeeze in a quick visit with my fam when we flew into Chicago. We take up every little opportunity we can to see as many people as possible.

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About two weeks after adjusting back to normal life the Blaneys came to visit us for a weekend. (You might remember that we went to visit them for Thanksgiving in Minneapolis). Most of their time here was spent relaxing and catching up on life. We also took our pups to the dog park, taught them to play Euchre, gave them a tour of the town (or at least of what we know of it so far), grabbed dinner at our favorite local restaurant, and dropped in for a quick visit to the #1 recommended “thing to do” in Minot according to Trip Advisor: visit the Dala Horse at the Scandinavian Heritage Association.

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We’re thankful for friends that are willing to come visit a not so appealing state just to spend some time with us. It makes us all the more grateful for their friendship. And it also allows us the chance to utilize the extra space we have in our home to host others here. Our Pruim hotel is open for booking now for anyone that wants to come for a visit 😉

Outside of those major highlights, we’ve been living a whole lot of daily life.

Around here…we’ve been soaking up the sun that comes with the spring weather. Temperatures have been on a significant incline as the weeks go by, and although we’re always warned to never get our hopes too high here at this time of year, we’re loving each 60-70 degree day that we get. Taking Boone out for fetch or for walks around the neighborhood, running outside instead of on a treadmill, and opening the windows for some fresh air are just a few ways I’ve been spending the nice days outside.

Around here…I’ve been finding my groove with work. Our biggest fundraiser of the year is now over and was a huge success. So lately I’ve been honing in on more of my direct job responsibilities. It’s felt busy, but still good.

Around here…Adam and I are officially the same age for 4 whole months. Here’s to not having to give the explanation that being 8 months older than him does not qualify me to be a cougar or a cradle robber. We celebrated him simply, as is fitting for him, with dinner and DQ with some friends, and plenty of family quality time. (Big news of the month: our local DQ informed me when we went there that cotton candy blizzards will be making a return this summer. I unashamedly squealed with joy when I found out).

Around here…Adam has been keeping himself occupied with work, and now with school. He’s taking some classes that specifically compliment his field of work, so he’s learning new things and being challenged all the same.

Around here…Boone is better than ever. He entertains us daily and gives us more and more reasons to love him. He has this constant desire to lick all the things and let his tongue hang out the side of his mouth. Trust me, he’s getting plenty of water. He’s just weird. And we laugh at him all the time for it. But getting him outside more often has been great for giving him some exercise, improving his fetching skills, and wearing him out to exhaustion. As of late, we discovered he is fascinated by construction equipment as he sat outside in the yard for two days and watched a bobcat drive back and forth past our yard. He’s weird, I know. But we can’t get enough of him.

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Around here…we’ve been cheering on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. With our lack of cable, we haven’t been able to catch many games throughout the year, but Adam’s NBC app has full playoff coverage that we can hook up to the tv. Thankfully Adam has plenty of Blackhawks gear to wear for all the days they play.

Around here…we’ve unfortunately been battling a stomach bug. First me, now Adam. Thankfully it’s made it’s pass through me and it’s about done with Adam too. We’ll both be back to tip top shape before we know it.

Around here…we’re still wrapping our minds around the greatness that is The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We went to see it early last night for it’s premiere and not a single ounce of me was disappointed. In fact, every ounce of me was utterly impressed. Please, do yourself a favor and head over to the nearest movie theater immediately, buy yourself a ticket, and let your mind be blown. So. Much. Greatness.

Around here…we’re just living life daily. Letting opportunities for fellowship and community come up as they do and embracing free time when we have it. We have a nice life here in North Dakota and I really do love it more than I ever thought I would.

So now, let’s catch up. What have you been up to?